Marked rise in crime against kids

TNN | Nov 25, 2011, 01.45AM IST

PUNE: Centre for Child Rights has revealed that there was a marked rise in all types of crimeagainst children between 1994 and 2009. According to the survey, child murder went up by 26.7%, foeticide by 173.3%, abetment to suicide by 557%, exposure and abandonment of children below 12 years of age, 74%, and kidnapping of children by 935%, during the period. The findings of the report — 'Twenty years of CRC (child rights convention): A balance sheet' — were presented by Bharti Ali, co-director, Haq: Centre for Child Rights, at a function held in the city on Thursday.

The report takes stock, among other things, of the changes in the socio-economic, political and cultural context in the last two decades, makes an assessment of the progress made on implementation of the CRC commitments and the gaps and challenges that remain. The report, co-ordinated and anchored by Haq: Centre for Child Rights, was supported by a social organization, Terre Des Hommes, Germany. 

The function was attended by Thomas Jayaraj, director, Centre for Child Rights and Development, Chennai; C J George, regional co-ordinator, Terre Des Hommes, Germany-South Asia, and Danuta Sacher, executive director, Terre Des Hommes. 

"According to the report, we gained a full-fledged ministry for women and children in 2006, since ratification of the CRC in 1992. Also, the right to education for children in the 6-14 age group became a fundamental right, while for the first time, early childhood care and development found space in the Constitution as a directive principle of state policy and several amendments took place in the criminal legislation, particularly the code of criminal procedure and the Indian Evidence Act to provide protection to victims of rape during the course of investigation, medical examination and trial," said Ali. She added that after the CRC ratification, a new Juvenile Justice Act was put in place in 2000, it was amended in 2006 as an attempt to bring it in conformity with the international law and principles of diversion and restorative justice. 

Health and survival figures between 1992-93 and 2005-2006, showed an improvement of 18.6 percentage points in birth registration, a decline of 11.3 percentage points in child marriages, increase of 8.1 per-centage points in immunization levels, a 4.8 percentage points dren less than five years with symptoms of acute respiratory infection, among other things. But in many cases, the targets were not met fully," she said. 

Data on education in the country, between 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, shows: 1.08 percentage point increase in enrolment of scheduled caste children, 2.02 percentage point increase in enrolment of sched-uled tribe children, 12.1 percentage point reduction in the overall drop-out rates, with drop-out rate falling by 12.6 percentage points in the case of scheduled caste children and 15.7 percentage points in the case of scheduled tribe children, among other things. 

Ali said that one of the disturbing findings of the report is that child sex ratio has fallen from 945 in 1991 to 914 in 2011. "In addition, the sex ratio for adolescents in the 13-19 age group, declined from around 898 in 1981 to 884 1991. In 2001, sex ratio in the age group 10-19 years was 882, lower than the sex ratio of 927 in the 0-6 years' age group. It was 902 for younger adolescents aged 10-14 years and 858 for older adoles-cents aged 15-19 years," she said. 

The report states that between 1992-93 and 2005-06, the percentage of children with low birth weight went up by 17.7 points. There is decline of two percentage points in the use of oral hydration salts for treatment of diarrhea. "Enrolment percentage of disabled children fell by 0.24 points between 2005-06 and 2008-09. Even with more budget being spent on school infrastructure, the percentage of schools with no buildings has gone up by almost one point between 2005-06 and 2008-09," said Ali. Ali said that crimes by children are a clear manifestation of distress in children's life. "Burglary increased by 881.6% between 2001 and 2009. Over 300% increase was witnessed in cases of rape, kidnapping, dacoity, cheating and violation of the excise law by children. Counterfeiting, attempt to murder, robbery, gambling and causing death by rash and negligent driving are some of the crimes by children showing an over 200% increase," she said. 

The report said that several measures taken in compliance with the CRC commitments remain inadequate. "All states do not have a State commission for protection of child rights. In nine out of 12 states where they exist, they were set up even without framing thes rules for their establishment and functioning. The National commission for protection of child rights and the State commissions face resource crunch for effective functioning, while the goals set out in the National plan of action for children have crossed their deadline," added Ali.